(en) APEC or...dress rehearsal for fascism

Lyn Gerry (redlyn@loop.com)
Thu, 27 Nov 1997 14:55:31 +0000

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------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Wed, 26 Nov 1997 18:25:47 -0800 (PST) To: media-l@tao.ca From: edoherty@portal.ca (Eric Doherty) Subject: APEC or... Reply-to: media-l@tao.ca

Don't talk too loudly, we're having a dress rehersal for facism.

The following is a report on the events of the last 2 days at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada - site of one day of the leaders summit:

On Monday November 24, at noon, Jaggie Singh, the main organizer of APEC ALERT at UBC was arrested by 5 plain clothes police officers. He was thrown to the ground and hand-cuffed, and put into an unmarked car. At the time of his arrest, he was walking between 2 campus buildings.

Students were unable to find out where he was taken, or what the charge was, so approximately 250 students marched to the campus RCMP station. At the station, Staff Seargent Plont advised the group that Jaggie had been arrested because, at a demonstration on November 7 (2 1/2 weeks earlier),"he had spoken to loudly into a mega phone, and damaged a police officer's hearing."

Students marched back, and continued with a previously planned university teach-in.

At approximately 4 pm, the teach-in ended, and about 150 students marched to a nearby flag pole. At this point in time, the flag pole was still within a zone that was open to the public (much of the university, at this point, was behind barricades to "protect" the area where the leaders summit was being held). A group of students gathered around the flag pole (approximtely 75 cops were present), and one student climbed a short way up the flag pole. The police pulled him down, pepper sprayed hi, and arrested him.

At approximatley 4:30 pm, Jaggie returned to the campus. He was released on the condition that he would not return to the campus. He ripped up his terms of release, and a groups of about 200 people walked toward the flag pole. Jaggie was violently re-arrested along with 2 other members of the APEC ALERT group, while they attempted to write APEC free zone on the pavement. At this point, there were wtill about 75 cops present, and they had their attack dogs out. One person was bitten by a dog.

About 80 peole stayed in the zone around the flag pole, until the area was declared off-limits, the protestors left peacefully.

Tuesday November 25:

There was a concerted attempt to arrest all of the organizers - by the time the march started, all of the people with walkie talkies had been arrested, so there were almost no commmunications devices.

Early in the morning, about 10 people from the East Timorese Action Network were arrested, and pepper sprayed while they attempted to block a road. One women carrying a walkie talkie, who was seperated from the group, and was not doing civil disobedience, was arrested.

At about 8 am, 3 more organizers from APEC ALERT were arrested - they were also not performing civil disobedience.

At 11am, the march started. About 3000 people marched towards the police barricades. Peace keepers erected a human chain well back from the barricade - anyone crossing through the chain was willing to participate in civil disobedience. The first group aproached the police, and all of them were pepper sprayed. Several other incidents of pepper spray were noted. At that time, it was negotiated that the police would peacefully arrest people who wanted to participate in civil disobedience. Approximtaely 20 people were arrested, and then the police advised the crowd that they were no longer willing to peacefully arrest people. There were several hundred police present, and they had riot shields, and dogs. A stalement proceeded for about 1.5 hours.

At the end, people decided to leave that site, and block 3 of the roads leading from the university. Anothere organizer was violently arrested, and more peopel were pepper sprayed. At the final blockade (which occured just as a motorcade carrying some of the leaders rounded the corner), police pepper sprayed the group. One man, who handed a bottle of water to a pepper spray victim, reportedly had a gun held to his head.

At this point, all of the protestors left the university, and went to downtwon Vancouver to another anti-APEC protest. At this protest, there was no civil disobedience plaaned. About 3000 arrived for this final protest. After most of the people dispersed, a group of 30 cycle cops arrived and indimidated the approximtely 50 protestors left. One cop, without any provocation, pushed a woman in the crowd, and then picked up his bicycle and slammed it against her.


Protestors at the unversity were fabulous. Everyone was very calm, and non-violent. Students are shocked and saddened at seeing their friends brutalized. Students at teh unveristy, in general have become more radicalized because of seeing these events first hand. Many more students than expected showed up at the demonstration today.

Other human rights abuses are just started to be reported. One women was detained, because she was handing out leaflets. When she asked waht they charge was, she was told that it was "consiracy to protest" Whe was released without charge later in the day.

In total, there were over 100 arrests today. 24 people are still detained.

Sorry that this is so long, and incoherent, it's been a long day,

Maryann Abbs

Eric Doherty edoherty@portal.ca Vancouver B.C. Canada

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